Divorce Essay, Research Paper
The Destruction of the American Family
There are, undoubtedly, a number of causes for the increasing number of divorces and unstable marriages. Divorce used to be considered scandalous and immoral. This contributed to many marriages surviving despite strains. However, the more common divorce becomes, the more natural and expectable it seems. The United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Now, half of all marriages end in divorce. What are the reasons for this increase in the destruction of the American family?
Some researchers attribute the economic and social changes in recent decades as reasons for the rise in divorce. As increasing numbers of women entered the labor market they became less economically dependent on men and marriage for financial security. Many women in unhappy marriages found that they could divorce and still support themselves. These economic changes were followed by social changes: divorce became more expectable and easier to obtain.
Some experts believe that these economic and social changes have occurred with Americans higher expectations of marriage. People today think that the primary purpose of marriage is to fulfill emotional needs. In the past, people married for practical reasons such as companionship or financial security. Today, Americans are likely to end a
marriage when emotional needs are not being met. As Dr. Ahorns states in his book Divorced Families, Unless the relationships created by marriage and birth of
children satisfy the needs for love, caring, and emotional support, the marriage is not considered a successful one. How this breakdown of the American family affects the individuals is a question of much concern.
The mother, who most often gets custody, may have to seek a job or two out side of the home. This is partly because child support income is inadequate and some fathers fail to uphold their responsibilities. The children make more demands on her because their father is absent. She has little time for a social life. Finances are strained.
Even the father suffers because, though his income increases, he misses his children. He may be seeing them weekly but they do not turn to him for advice, help or support. He does not feel like a father anymore. On the other hand, there are an increasing number of fathers who are awarded custody of their children. Men often suffer a similar fate in this situation as women, with increased financial and emotional strain.
For the children of divorce, the affects are devastating. “Almost anything bad that can happen to a child occurs with much greater frequency to the children of divorce” predicts D. Popenoe. What they experience becomes a part of their inner world. As these young men and women face the task of creating their own relationships, they mostly lack the template for a loving connection between a man and a woman. The new families being formed today by these children of divorce appear particularly vulnerable. It is here the cycle repeats.
Like it or not, our culture is changing. Everyone in today s world feels less protected. They feel that the family institution is weaker that it ever was before. Even happy, intact families fear that their house may come undone. The true task for American society is to strengthen its family.